INTRODUCTION TO PART 3 -- RELIGIOUS MINISTRIES
The Constitution of the United States guarantees freedom of religion, which means that all citizens have the right to espouse and propagate any religious conviction without fear of governmental interference. Americans have fought long and hard for this freedom that did not exist in the early Thirteen Colonies. The Constitution in the 21st C. is under attack by the Supreme Court as a Living Document which they are interpreting as not a fixed document but one which is subject to be understood within the context of changing times. The Supreme Court seems to have lost the reality that their mandate is to INTERPRET, NOT LEGISLATE or seek to circumvent the obvious purpose of the Signers.
The First Amendment addresses two issues, 1. the Establishment Clause which states that the government will not favor any one religion [religious group?] over another, and 2. the Free Exercise Clause which states that the government will not interfere with anyone’s practice of his faith. The Founding Fathers were desirous of avoiding any government involvement in making any one form of Christianity a State Religion. They sought to leave that behind in the old world. However, there is little to signify that they designed for America to become multireligious and multicultural. It is in fact the first country to declare itself religiously pluralistic. That is the design of liberal courts who want to remove all religion from government or government sponsored programs. Tragically the first clause is being abused by denying equal favor for Christianity. The latest salvo demands that religion cannot trump government dictums and that religion is to be practiced only in private, not the market place. All religions are equal; therefore, our Chrisitna heritage is to be removed from all publically financed institutions.
The Founding Fathers wisely avoided major hurdles in writing the First Amendment. What liberal courts have done is not face serious issues such as the rights of 'groups' versus rights of 'individuals' or 'public interest' in a multicurltural society. How will the courts address religious beliefs which sanction female circumcision, polygamy, family honor or animal sacrifice? One study suggests, fashioning democratic principles for multicultural societies is the task of the 21st. century. And no easy answers are available.
Those who migrated to this country brought with them their religious beliefs and with varying degrees of success evangelized their neighbors. Today Americans espouse every kind of religious expression known to man and are dreaming up new. Religion is such a popular subject that the Good Housekeeping magazine published an article, "The 1200 Religions in America," which merely listed the religions without comment. It included fifty-six Buddhist groups, thirty-one Catholic, forty-six Hindu, twenty Islamic, thirty-four Jewish, eighteen Mormon, nineteen they labeled "pagan," twenty-six witchcraft, and fifty-four that were called "unclassified New-Age groups." The article concludes that there are far more than the 1,200 they listed "in the rich spiritual tradition of our country ", replace the 'christian ' tradition with the world's religious traditions. A three year study from Harvard indicates that they found some 1500 Buddhist temples, 2100 Muslim mosques & information centers, 200 Hindu, 100 Jain and 100 Sikh temples in the US in 1996. Since then, our country has legally brought in thousands of adherents of other relgions and opened our doors to other thousands of refugees; the religious landscape mushrooms.
It should be obvious that in most communities there will be groups of individuals who consider themselves to be very religious but who need to know the truth about Jesus Christ. Most of those people will never hear the gospel unless the church recognizes their existence and devises a plan to present the Good News to them in a manner that takes into account their sensitivities.
A number of mission agencies specialize in ministering to adherents of the major world religions. Perhaps the best known are those concerned with evangelizing the Jews. These missions maintain training programs for their missionaries and provide literature prepared for their ministry. Their house organs provide information helpful in understanding how to witness effectively to those people.
Many of these missions also provide training programs for laymen. By means of this service laymen are exposed to the religious beliefs and practices of a particular group and are then provided with opportunities to observe and take part in personal witnessing to practitioners in the community. Such programs are available for Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Mormon witness.
Certain missions target the larger cults such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. The tragedy is that almost nothing is being done to win the masses who have turned to what William Paterson calls "those curious new cults," which keep springing up without end. The activity that does exist is primarily one of either warnings against the cults or clandestine activities initiated by parents who hire an agent to find, rescue, and deprogram their children who allegedly have been brainwashed by the cult.
A large and growing body of literature is being produced by concerned organizations and missions to alert young people, especially on college campuses, and parents concerning the message and procedures of these groups.
Several missions have targeted the 60 million American Roman Catholics as a mission field. In this study we have not included a history of Catholicism, but have listed some missions seeking to reach Catholics with the Gospel. Time magazine reported that US Catholicism grew 15% through the period 1985 to 1995 primarily due to immigration of large Hispanic Catholic families. One third of US Catholics are Hispanics [Vol 147, No 7; Noticiero Milamex, 10/31/95, 2/29/96]
The Presidential campaign of 2016 has made it abundantly clear that our country is in deep need of Spiritual Revival. The religious commitment of the members of our government will be increasingly non-Christian and operating with other religious worldviews which are seriously limited in ethical morality. Note: Capitol Ministries was extablished  "to make disciples of Jesus Christ in the political arena". In Washington, DC, they have 3 ministries in 3 branches, such as a "Members Bible Study" for US Coingressmen on the Hill. They also have ministry in each of the 50 state capitols. CivicReach, a branch, reaches out to 'local government leaders' in 33,000 incorporated city and county governments.
MISSIONS BOARDS SERVING CATHOLICS
|CHRISTIAN ADVANCE INT'L|
|CONVERSION CENTER INC|
|GOSPEL MISSIONARY UNION|
|MEXICAN MEDICAL MINISTRIES INC|
|MEXICAN MISSION MINISTRIES, INC|
|MISSION TO CATHOLICS INTERNATIONAL|
|MISSION TO THE AMERICAS|
|REACH MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL|